The Deen Castronovo Chronicles: Part 3, in which we learn “How to Submit to the Religious Authority of Rush”

I guess I really shouldn’t have worried so much about Deen’s long term survival in Jazz Band. As the year progressed, it became clear that most of the apex predators in the band had overcome their initial impulse to take him down like an unsuspecting zebra at a waterhole. He could be a pain in the ass, but he was our pain in the ass, and he became more and more lovable the better we got to know him. Why fight it? Attacking Deen would have been like declaring war on Canada; it would be just plain mean, and really, what would have been the point anyway?

Deen Castronovo IIIThat said, the unwelcome hooting and hollering about Neil Peart and Rush (which never, never abated) could still bring back replays of The Vision to my imagination. At the beginning of the year, it had featured just Glenn and Craig and their kind around that imaginary campfire. But as the school year passed, God forgive me, it started playing out with me as an enthusiastic participant too. I could see myself there, as in life, sitting between Glenn and Craig alongside the fire, full from finishing off the final scraps of Deen. I’d turn to Glenn on the left. “Glenn, have you got an antacid—you know, a Rolaids or Tums or something—because I really overdid it; I haven’t been this stuffed since last Thanksgiving.”

Glenn belched a deep and resonant “No” in reply, the sound of an overfed bullfrog.

I’d turn to the right. “Craig,” I’d ask. “How about it?”

Not to be outdone, Craig would belch the entire alphabet (don’t get too excited; the entire alphabet to a saxophone player consists of A-G) while shaking his head no. It was starting to look like I was going to have to pass on the s’mores.

But cannibalistic daydreams aside, something would have to be done about Deen’s elective, Rush-fueled Tourette’s Syndrome. But what?

Well, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, right? Neil Peart is a god? Fine. Let us pray.

Oh most holy and beneficent Neil Peart, look with mercy upon your reluctant servants here in Salem, and grant us peace from the percussive noise of your constant praise. Lead us not into temptation to kill your disciple Deen as the most fit and meet sacrifice to honor your deity. Deliver us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of a Rush tour—to someplace other than Oregon. We ask these blessings in your holy name. Amen.

There you go, Deen. Neil Peart is a god? Acknowledged. Signed and sealed. Can we please, please move on now?

In a word? No.

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